February 21, 2012 — We've compiled some of the most thought-provoking commentaries from around the Web. Catch up on the conversation with bloggers from RH Reality Check, ThinkProgress and more.
STATE LAWS: "The Scarlet Ultrasound: State-Sanctioned Rape as Punishment for Having Sex," Amanda Marcotte, RH Reality Check: "What's been fascinating about the uproar over the Virginia legislature passing a mandatory ultrasound is that conservatives are basically admitting that it's about punishing women for seeking out an entirely legal abortion," Marcotte writes. She notes that the "only real way that an ultrasound imparts information is if a woman doesn't know she's pregnant," which means "mandatory ultrasounds therefore cannot have anything to do with giving information, much less convincing women not to have abortions" (Marcotte, RH Reality Check, 2/19).
What others are saying about state laws:
~ "The Abortion Wars: The Real People Behind the Restrictions," Carole Joffe, RH Reality Check.
~ "Virginia Delegate Says Mandatory Ultrasound Bill Will Turn Doctors Into 'Criminals' Under the Law," Andy Kopsa, RH Reality Check.
~ "Virginia Bill Would Halt Medicaid Funding for Abortions of Fetuses That Have 'No Chance of Survival After Delivery,'" Amanda Peterson Beadle, ThinkProgress.
~ "Arizona Republican Links President Obama, Abortion and Nuclear Terrorism," Jessica Pieklo, Care2.
CONTRACEPTION COVERAGE: "The 10 Worst Things About Rep. Darrell Issa's Panel and the Contraception Debate," Eric Segall, Slate's "XX Factor": Segall outlines "just 10 of the many lowlights" from a recent House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing related to the contraception coverage debate. Among the items on the list, Segall expresses dismay at "[w]atching [his] hard-earned tax dollars fund a religious rally on government property run by [Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.)], a person who doesn't see the cruel irony of holding a hearing on 'Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State' and then only inviting true believers of two faiths to testify" (Segall, "XX Factor," Slate, 2/17).
What others are saying about contraceptive coverage:
~ "Congressman Issa Claims MLK's Legacy To Support Fight Against Contraceptives," Aaron Krager, Care2.
~ "Religious Liberty vs. Reproductive Liberty: A New Political Minefield Pits Women Against the Church," Lauren Brown Jarvis, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "Contraception: What the Doctor(s) Ordered," Steve Heilig, Huffington Post blogs.
~ "The Theology of Birth Control Politics," Anthony M. Stevens-Arroyo, Washington Post's "On Faith."
~ "The Woman Prevented From Testifying in Favor of Birth Control Says She's 'Stunned' by GOP's Rebuke," Igor Volsky, ThinkProgress.
~ "Where ARE the Women?" Gail Yamner, RH Reality Check.
~ "The High Costs of Birth Control: A Major Barrier to Access," Jessica Arons, RH Reality Check.
~ "Insurance Industry Could Take Hit From Birth Control Mandate," Julian Pecquet, The Hill's "Healthwatch."
ATTACKS ON PLANNED PARENTHOOD: "Catholic Food Shelf Rejects Food From Planned Parenthood," Jessica Pieklo, Care2: "So we can add feeding the poor to providing emergency care and finding orphan children homes to the list of services the Catholic Church will no longer provide without political concession," Pieklo writes in response to news that a Catholic food pantry in Wisconsin would not accept donations from Planned Parenthood. Lisa Boyce, spokesperson for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, said the group collected food to donate to Paul's Pantry in Green Bay (Pieklo, Care2, 2/18).
ELECTION 2012: "And Again: Political Strategy Trumps Female Well-Being," Peggy Drexler, Huffington Post blogs: Drexler writes, "The Democrats couldn't have written a better script for the House Oversight Committee hearings on the issue [of contraceptive coverage]: five Republican witnesses proposing rules affecting female reproduction -- five males." She notes, "There is also the possibility -- even in an election year - -that the mandates are simply the right thing to do," given that more than 800,000 people receive benefits through Catholic hospitals (Drexler, Huffington Post blogs, 2/20).
What others are saying about the 2012 election:
~ "Rick Santorum is Against Prenatal Screening," Jill Filipovic, Feministe.
FEDERAL BUDGET: "Congressional Budget Cuts Could Slash Job Opportunities for Female Vets and Victims of Violence," Ludy Green, Huffington Post blogs: A congressional budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 includes significant reductions that would "adversely impact employment training programs for women veterans and women victims of violence who are struggling to find employment," writes Green, founder and president of Second Chance Employment Services. These women are already "extremely disadvantaged in this job market," and the proposed cuts will only "put more pressure on nonprofits like [Second Chance] to fill in the public job service gaps the government cannot" (Green, Huffington Post blogs, 2/20).
What others are saying about the federal budget:
~ "The President's Budget -- Supporting Key Investments for Women and Fairer Taxes," Katherine Gallagher Robbins, National Women's Law Center blog.
SEXUAL ASSAULT: "Is the United States the Only Country Where More Men are Raped Every Year Than Women?" Jill Filipovic, Feministe: According to a recent n + 1 article, a recent Department of Justice survey "seems to be saying that prison rape accounted for the majority of all rapes committed in the U.S. in 2008, likely making the United States the first country in the history of the world to count more rapes for men than for women." Although Filipovic questions the accuracy of the survey and some of its methods, she writes that that the n+1 article and a related New York Review of Books article "are correct that the U.S. prison system is a moral catastrophe" and "that it is entirely possible to lower the sexual assault rate in American prisons, but that the political will is simply not there" (Filipovic, Feministe, 2/20).
What others are saying about sexual assault:
~ "What Should Servicewomen Expect? Respect," Katie Clemente, American Civil Liberty Union's "Blog of Rights."
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership